Our Case Statement
Wetlands are a vital part of a healthy world. Swamps, bogs and marshes, as well as the shallow waters of our rivers, creeks, lakes and ponds are wetlands. Upland areas that flood or have saturated soils for some period of the year are also wetlands. Wetlands have important natural functions that humans, land animals and plants and marine life depend on for survival.
Unfortunately, wetlands have historically been unappreciated. Only half of the wetlands of Colonial times have survived. Wetlands Watch was formed because protecting wetlands…
“requires a corps of volunteers observant enough to know something is wrong, aggressive enough to delve into complex regulation, and persistent enough to combat an often hostile bureaucracy.” (Virginian Pilot, July 30, 2001)
Wetlands Watch is a non-profit environmental group dedicated to protecting and conserving Virginia’s wetlands. We are the only statewide organization working at the grassroots level with a singular focus to save wetlands in the mid-Atlantic region.
Wetlands Watch works with both a top-down approach, through state and federal policy advocacy, and a bottom-up approach, using grass roots education and activism to influence local government land use and regulatory decisions.
The newest chapter of our work is focused on 1) sea level rise, combating this new threat to Virginia’s coastal wetlands, and 2) making our organization self-sustaining.
- We are currently collaborating with state and local organizations to develop innovative land-use models that can be used by Virginia tidewater communities in coming years to protect our wetland resources as the sea rises.
- Wetlands Watch is conducting education and advocacy programs at the local level to educate and motivate citizens to press our state and local governments to take sea level rise into account in wetlands regulation and conservation.
- We are working to enlarge our membership and attract major individual and corporate donors so that we can become self-sustaining and continue this work in the future.
Our work has been recognized in many ways. One of our founding members, Dr. Jay Taylor, and our executive director, Skip Stiles, have both received the William H. Savedge III Environmental Achievement Award from the Chesapeake Bay Foundation. Skip Stiles was asked to serve on the Virginia Commission on Climate Change in 2008 in recognition of the work Wetlands Watch was doing on sea level rise. In 2009 we were asked to testify before a US House of Representatives Committee looking at sea level rise in the Chesapeake Bay.